Italian DJ/producer Joseph Capriati is the next techno DJ to break into the big league. He's about to release his second artist album, 'Self Portrait', on Adam Beyer's Drumcode label, having put out his first on Analytic Trail, and this and its accompanying 'Autoritratto' documentary sets the seal on a great year for Joseph.
Born and bred in Napoli, aka Naples, the third largest city in Italy, Joseph credits the city with being the main reason why he does what he does today. “Napoli was the first city where I felt that the people took me to their hearts and believed in me,” he tells DJ Mag. “The people and the city always give me a huge inspiration, and I love them so much for this.”
His documentary film gives glimpses as to how Joseph first got into music and where he used to breakdance in Naples with pals. He was already a fan of house music when he went to his first techno party near his home at an open air venue called Old River Park. “I don't really know why but once I went to that first techno party I became really attracted to techno music,” he says. “But not just the music, it was also what I suppose you could describe as the techno lifestyle; the spirit of the people, the vibe of the parties and the feeling of the music.”
He became DJ Jampa in the early noughties, but after a few years reverted to his real name because “this was really me putting some of my heart and soul out into the world for people to see and hear forever”. His real name is Guiseppe Capriati, but he decided to use the English version as it was easier for people to remember.
A couple of Napoli DJs, Rino Cerrone and Markantonio, took him under their wing and gave him a lot of advice and support. “They are my teachers of life and how to travel around and play a good gig and to live around hotels and airports and life on the road,” Joseph says. “Also in the studio I learnt everything from them about mastering and mixing down tracks.”
He started releasing on Markantonio's Analytic Trail label, dropping his debut album on the label while also starting to release on Drumcode from 2009. Since then, Beyer's Drumcode has become his main label but he hasn't forgotten Markantonio — his one-time mentor will be joining him as special guest DJ on his tour to promote his new album.
'Self Portrait' is a beautifully melodic dancefloor body of work. Topped and tailed by the downtempo 'Electrolytic' and the title track closer, the album contains some glorious futurist techno cuts such as muscular builder 'Easy Come Easy Go', a tuff yet distant and twinkling 'Always & Forever', a disjointed, slightly wonky 'This Then That' and the classic tunnel tech of 'Partenopeo'. Joseph says that he's very proud of the whole album, but that his personal fave track on 'Self Portrait' is 'Fratello'.
“I was very inspired to write this track by the feelings of support and togetherness that I have always enjoyed from my close friends, and I am lucky to have many friends who I am happy and proud to call my brothers,” he says, “which, of course, is the translation of 'Fratello' in English.” 'Fratello' is a fine example of Capriati's romantic vision, gorgeous fluttery keys and a deep warm bassline making this a cut that Agoria or Laurent Garnier would be proud of. “I like to surprise people in a nice way and to show the emotion that I feel for the good people I have around me,” Joseph says.
Playing as part of Marco Carola's Music On party at Amnesia in Ibiza all summer, he says he feels blessed to haver rocked the main room all season long. “It's funny because if I am honest, in the beginning I wanted to play in the Terrace [at Amnesia] because that was where Marco was playing and it is such an amazing room,” he admits. “But in the main room this year it was completely amazing every time, especially the closing where I played four hours and it was packed from the start until the end. It is very emotional for me to see something growing in Ibiza. It gives me much more energy for the future and to continue working hard.”
This successful season and now his new album have elevated Joseph into the techno premier league, which he sees as like one big happy family. “There is something special about techno people and I find they always want to share — whether it be music or just having fun together,” he says. “Of course, there is competition and I hate this and try to avoid these people, and I do not like to play with them at a party or have them in my circle of friends. For me, music is a form of expression which needs to come from freedom — not competition.”
Nice guy Joseph balks at the suggestion that he's the next techno star, saying “for me there is no place for stars in techno because it's about a passion and lifestyle and I want to keep it underground”.